“I dropped the beets!” one of the farm workers at the stand said.
“This is how you drop the beat!” Doug replied and promptly started beat boxing. He had the rest of the folks behind the table curled over laughing. I laughed thinking about it as I loaded my beets into a bag at the market. It is beet canning week. (Now the beat boxing pops into my head every time I say the word!)
Having canned beets means quick Borscht, throw a jar into a blender with yogurt and cucumber and dill. It means salad toppings. It means an easy, pretty side dish at the table during any season.
We have talked plenty about how to pickle beets but not about how to just can them as is. First boil the beets after removing greens (save these for smoothies and other dishes you would use greens in. They are delicious.) Boil for 40 minutes. Cool a bit then under water peel off skins.
Do put your apron on. The beets want a complete red society and they are coming after your favorite white shirt.
Pour boiling water from a kettle into jars. Put lids in a bowl, pour boiling water over. This is how I sterilize. My jars are clean, I just need to get them hot and rinsed out good with boiling water. Swish the water around and empty. Put funnel on top and pour in diced beets to one inch from top. Gently push down veggies or shake jar to make more room.
Now here is where we can do fun variations. In some of them I just did plain beets so I can improvise later. In three of them I added a thick slice of peeled orange. In the remaining one I only had enough beet to fill it half way so I added a diced apple.
They all get a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. The fruit ones got vanilla salt, the rest got good sea salt. A tablespoon of brown sugar went into the fruit ones as well as a splash of orange juice to enhance the flavor.
Heat that kettle up again and pour water into jars to 1 inch from top. Use a knife to jiggle around the sides and the water will lower while releasing air. Add more water to one inch headspace.
Have a pressure canner with 3 inches of water heating up on the stove without lid. Run a damp paper towel over the rims of the jars and replace lids. Place in pot. Put lid on. Most of y’all are going to do 10 pounds of pressure but in our high altitude we have to use all the weights all the time. When the thing starts sounding like a bomb, or salsa music, start shaking your hips and time 30 minutes plus 1 minute for every 100o feet above sea level you are.
Always wait for pressure to release before opening the lid. Remove stained glass-like jars and admire on a towel on the counter. Enjoy whenever you want!